Did you ever think, with a thrill of reverence and joy, dear reader, that the great anniversary birthday of the world was in the death-month of the year?
Close down into the shivering, pulseless, darkened days of the last of December, with its silver chime of bells; with its "Peace on earth," and "Good will to men," with all its promise for the life that now is, and its prophesy unspeakable and full of glory for that which is to come, rises the dear blessed Christmas morning.
I think that to us all, the world grows a little sadder year by year. Our hopes and our hearts fail us by the way, and we come down into these Decembers each time a little slower and fainter of soul, and the storm and darkness which gather around the year, gathers over our hearts also. I think too, that that nature can be of neither very fine or sound quality over which steals no shadows of solemn self-retrospection at the close of the year.
By so much is the capital of our life consumed. And how much have we left undone! How many of our highest purposes have not been realized! What a poor, barren, flimsy sort of life it must seem to the best of us, when compared with our ideal!
And some of us have carried down the months our heavy burdens and our sharp griefs, until our hearts failed us, and we almost longed to die. We stood on the banks, with the foe behind and the sea before, and we looked from one to the other, as Moses did, seeking a path, before the gates of the waters opened, and the road lay broad and straight before him. Dear heart of my reader, are you of those who come down bound and storm-beaten into December?
I know that among the many thousand homes where our magazine folds its fluttering wings, it must find some at the gates of whose souls care and grief of varied name and face have knocked during the year which has gone.
And to you this Christmas day arises as a witness, and a voice from on high, symbolizing to you the "Gift" unspeakable, which, however all earthly gifts may fall, is yours still--yours its promise, its comfort, its blessing. Take heart, then and do not despair. He who gives you this Christmas will not forget. Though the clouds lie as heavy upon your soul as the snows do upon this December, yet, "take heart."
There are sweet south winds and tender sunshine that wait beyond to loosen these snows and scatter them from off the face of the earth, and your griefs, sooner or later, shall all vanish away--if not here, in the Home over whose threshold they can never pass to those who are with God.
Be, "happy and blessed," which is better than "Merry," be to everyone of you, oh, readers of the Home Magazine, from Maine to the Gulf--from Massachusetts to California, this Christmas of our Lord eighteen hundred and sixty-four.
V. F. T.
(From Arthur's Home Magazine - Editor's Department, January 1865)
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